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Robots Win, but not as Easily as Expected

March 14th, 2005

The best word to describe this week's predictions is "Overcompensation." After getting skunked underestimating how well certain films have done in the past many, many analysts overestimated their appeal this weekend. This in part led to a 6.3% drop-off from last weekend and more importantly, a 1.7% drop-off from last year. After sporting a double digit lead just a couple of weeks ago, the Year-to-Date race is a virtual tie at $1.56 billion each.

While Robots failed to reach the lofty expectations analysts had, it should still end up a success by any financial definition of the word. An opening of $36.0 million is the third best March weekend ever and the second best March opening. Also, with holidays and above average reviews the film should have a multiplier of at least 3.5 resulting in a final box office of at least $125 million domestically and nearly $300 million worldwide.

The Pacifier beat expectations by a small margin, bringing in $18.2 million over the weekend. At this pace the film should reach $80 to $90 million, which is in line with its total budget. If it can earn just half that internationally it should show a profit before the home market.

On the other hand, Be Cool slipped slightly faster than expected, landing at $10.3 million, down 56% from its opening. That's almost exactly what Get Shorty earned during its second weekend of release. However, the sequel will fall behind the original the rest of the way and likely finish with roughly $60 million.

Hostage met lowered expectations nearly exactly with $10.2 million and missed third place by less than $40,000. But with poor reviews, the film will have merely average legs and will have to settle for $30 million and Bruce Willis will have to wait till at least his next film before reviving his career.

With $8.8 million this weekend Hitch now sits at $149.8 million and should hit the $150 million by the time this story is published. With Robots disappointing at the box office, this film should remain 2005's biggest hit till Revenge of the Sith enters its second week of release.

The biggest disappointment this week was The Passion Recut, which most people assumed would at least reach the top ten. However, the film could finish no higher than 28th place with $223,789 in 957 theatres for an average of just $234 per theatre. Given the price of tickets, the number of showings over the weekend and you get about 3 people per showing. Any chance this film had of being a yearly event is dead. I predict two things will happen because of this result: firstly, there will be Schadenfreude aplenty, and secondly, any plans for big budget Bible epics that the studios might have had will be put on hold.

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Filed under: The Passion of the Christ, Hitch, Robots, The Pacifier, Be Cool, Hostage